I mentioned yesterday that we weaned the squidge to formula last weekend. It was a whole lot of not fun at the time, but I think now we’re on our way to solving all the feeding issues that cropped up in the last month.
My first day back at work, he refused to nurse in the morning. I left for work not knowing if he would take the bottle for my parents and worried he was going to starve until I got home at 3. Wouldn’t you know it, the little booger easily took down all the breast milk I left for him.
He continued to do well with the bottle throughout the week, but there were still times when he was clearly in distress after eating. I was left to wonder what I possibly could have eaten in my milk- and soy-free diet that was setting him off. When he refused two breastfeeding sessions in favor of taking a bottle of pumped milk, I decided that enough was enough. Pumping out 7 meals a day and staying on a restrictive diet that only partially seemed to help just made no sense.
I planned to pump enough to gradually move him up to full bottles of the EleCare hypo-allergenic formula. Until he refused to take bottles that were 1/2 and 1/2 and even 3 parts breast milk to 1 teeny part formula, but then sucked down straight Similac.
We had been warned that the Elecare did not taste very good, which is why they recommended mixing with breast milk, using less and less until he was on straight formula. To test whether it was a formula thing in general, or an aversion to that formula, we gave him regular Similac we had hanging around from when we were supplementing. Sure enough, the taste of that was fine and he took it all that feeding. At the next feeding though, he only took about half, and thereafter refused to eat.
Most likely, while he liked the taste, the regular Similac triggered the allergy again. (The theory we’ve been working on with the milk- and soy- free is that he has a sensitivity that causes inflammation in his digestive track, making it painful for him to eat).
I was determined not to go backwards and give him breast milk again. After he barely ate all day Saturday, I called the pediatrician. He suggested we try a less “hardcore” hypoallergenic formula and pedialyte for hydration.
To start with, we had to get him sucking with the pedialyte, then switch out the bottle for formula which he’d take a little bit of and then scream and protest. It was a hellish weekend and by Sunday night, we were really thinking that this was going end with putting a G-tube in squidge. He was barely taking in enough combined formula and pedialyte to stay hydrated, let alone the nutrition needed to grow and thrive. Everyone kept telling us, “he will eat when he gets hungry enough.” Yet here squidge was, clearly hungry and mighty pissed about it, but refusing to eat.
Gradually, we got him up to taking full bottles of formula and were able to do away with the pedialyte fake out. He’s done well all week and I’m praying that this is the end of all his eating troubles and that the consistency of the formula will keep him on an even keel. Even if it’s not really an allergy, it can’t hurt to have him on a more gentle hypo-allergic formula to prevent as much stomach distress as we can.
Meanwhile, I stopped breastfeeding cold turkey; a feat which I do not recommend. I refused to pump at all because I didn’t want the drying up process to be dragged out any longer. Today is day SIX and I’m still not done. It seems I’m past the rock-hard bad implant and shooting pains stages, so that is good. Unfortunately, I seem to have back- tracked to the surprise leakage phase, which is inconvenient.
All in all, I’m happy with my decision to wean. I made it to almost 3 months-half my 6 month goal. Beyond the myriad of things I hated about breast feeding that are now no longer an issue, I know it is best for squidgy’s health and comfort going forward. So why do I still feel so judged, and afraid of being branded as a “breast feeding drop out”?
Clearly, squidgy is happy with it…